People to Watch: Bobby Miller

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
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From the August 7, 2014 edition

Bobby Miller was born in Florida to take-charge parents — his mother was in management for a Tampa Bay restaurant group and his father was a ship captain — so it’s not surprising he naturally gravitated toward a leadership role.

“I’ve always been an ambitious person,” said Miller, 40, seated on the patio of an Italian Village bar in late July. “Even when I was a teenager I was always the person who was like, ‘Let’s make this happen.’ I don’t know why. It’s just who I am.”

Earlier this year, Miller officially launched Revelator, a promotional venture he’s taken to describing as an “entertainment and lifestyle company” — a phrase that conjures images of “Parks and Recreation’s” Entertainment 720. The similarities end there, however. Where Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford generally favors unattainable projects fueled by a passion for celebrity culture, Miller takes a far-more grounded approach to business, building things patiently and with community support.

“It’s all about being smart about the opportunities that are there, and approaching them in a very deliberate way,” he said.

The company made its successful debut earlier this summer with the second annual 4th & 4th Fest, a daylong concert held at Seventh Son Brewing Co. and headlined this year by Wilco spinoff The Autumn Defense and Operators, a new band spearheaded by Dan Boeckner and Sam Brown of Divine Fits. Next up is The Ultimate Beer Run, an early September fun run that combines craft beer with jogging (and, quite possibly, indigestion). Further down the road Miller and Co. — the businessman has surrounded himself with a crack team that includes Adriana Mundy and Patrick Crawford — have plans to stage a craft beer festival in late 2014/early 2015 and a large-scale music festival on par with something like Cincinnati’s Bunbury Music Festival as early as summer 2015.

“These aren’t especially novel concepts. People have done them before, but they tend to do them really [poorly],” said Miller, who promoted his first shows as a college radio DJ at Bowling Green State University and served as a local marketing rep for a blue-collar beer purveyor for more than five years before leaving to launch Revelator last year. “Take the craft beer fest. Generally with beer fests you go into this nondescript exposition hall and it’s kind of hot and there’s some generic cover band playing that isn’t very good, so it always feels like some weird cash grab. With [Revelator] we want to make sure everything we touch is always well thought out and well executed.”